Irregular Verbs and Other Stories

by Matthew Johnson | :: Jump to Buy Links ::


Introduction by Helen Marshall

Irregular Verbs
Another Country
Public Safety
Beyond the Fields You Know
What You Couldn’t Leave Behind
When We Have Time
The Wise Foolish Son
Long Pig
Talking Blues
The Face of the Waters
Outside Chance
Closing Time
The Dragon’s Lesson
Au Coeur des Ombres
Jump, Frog!
The Afflicted
The Coldest War
Written by the Winners
Heroic Measures
The Last Islander

Click to enlarge and spotlight cover

keluarga: to move to a new village
lunak: to search for something without finding it
mencintai: to love for the last time

Meet a guilt-ridden nurse who atones for her sins by joining her zombified patients in exile; a lone soldier standing guard on a desolate Arctic island against an invasion that may be all in his mind; a folksinger who tries to unionize Hell; and a private eye who only takes your case after you die. Visit a resettlement centre for refugees from ancient Rome; a lost country recreated by its last citizen on the Internet; and a restaurant where the owner’s ghost lingers for one final party. Discover the inflationary effects of a dragon’s hoard, the secret connection between Mark Twain and Frankenstein, and the magic power of blackberry jam—all in this debut collection of strange, funny, and bittersweet tales by acclaimed writer Matthew Johnson.

| Introduction by Helen Marshall. |

ISBN: 9781771481779
eISBN: 9781771481786

Praise for Matthew Johnson

“This is, indeed, a writer who fearlessly invents and innovates. . . . Johnson’s strength resides in his willingness to adapt and explore. . . . This, ultimately, is what Johnson has accomplished with Irregular Verbs: he has created a new mythology—new lore that feels as familiar as it is daring and fresh.”
—Liz Worth, Quill & Quire (starred review)

“In the brilliant Irregular Verbs, Johnson proves that short, well-executed speculative fiction has all the heart-wrenching power of any epic historical novel or contemporary literary fiction. . . . Whatever the subject, Johnson’s treatment is elegant and wise, and his stories are treasures to be savored. A masterful collection of poignant, clever science-fiction and fantasy stories.”
—Emma Page, Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“Johnson . . . bends and twists genre conventions, with highly original riffs on everything from superhero to zombie fiction. But no matter how bizarre the setting, his stories always keep a focus on how individuals cope with the stress of these disruptions and intrusions into strange new worlds.”
—Alex Good, The Toronto Star

“Readers interested in modern speculative fiction would be strongly recommended to make this their next choice.”
Publishers Weekly

“Johnson rarely hits a sour note in these tales. . . . To succeed in so many stories whose only similarity is the strength of Johnson’s voice is something that does not happen too often.”
—Josef Hernandez, Minnesota Books Examiner

“Matthew Johnson is a clever and thoughtful writer, and an unusual one, too.”
—Elizabeth Hay, Giller Prize-winning author of Late Nights on Air

“I tore through this collection. Sharp. Insightful. Smart. When can I have more?”
—John Scalzi, author of Redshirts

“Matthew Johnson is a 21st-century Bester. With each story he deftly takes a single idea and gives it an unanticipated shove, presiding over the resulting consequences as they ripple through character and plot, carrying the reader along to shores of distant wonder.”
—Lawrence M. Schoen, Hugo and Nebula Award Nominee

“The best story in this collection is the titular ‘Irregular Verbs,’ a strange and sensory story of loss and memory, wrapped delicately in meditations on language and culture. One of Johnson’s major themes throughout the collection is the mediation of thought through language: the difficulty of posing thoughts which language resists, the dislocation some immigrants experience when forced to adopt new languages, the linguistic twisting that remakes real events into history and mythology. In Irregular Verbs, Johnson’s interest in language reaches its fullest expression. In other stories, his facility with real-world Romantic and Germanic languages allows him to integrate language as an explicit part of his world-building. In Irregular Verbs, he continues to employ the specific knowledge that serves him well in other stories, but also moves beyond those specifics in order to play, directly, with the concepts that haunt his prose. Who are we without words? Change words and what remains? Are relationships as transient as sentences? Does thought disappear without language to sustain it?”
—Rachel Swirsky, Nebula Award Winner

“Johnson skips like a stone across the myriad provinces of the spec-fic landscape: time travel noir, Le Guinian psychofable, alternate history—even a glorious coda to the myth of the comic-book superhero. Yet somehow he leaves his own unique footprints wherever he lands. Macabre, whimsical, and touching by turns, Irregular Verbs does not disappoint.”
—Peter Watts, Hugo Award-winning author of Blindsight

“Johnson seems to be a master at efficient, realistic world-building. A number of the stories take place in alternate versions of our own time, or worlds that feature some aspect of time travel and I never felt like I had to work to figure out what was going on. Within the first page or two, I was totally drawn in and the idiosyncracies of each world seemed perfectly reasonable. . . . These tales will get you thinking and I recommend it for the fearless, intrepid sort of armchair traveller.”
—Bruce at The Bookshelf Gargoyle

| Check out Irregular Verbs and Other Stories on Goodreads! |